Meet Micheline Rychman

Author Interview, Bookish Interview

Meet Micheline Rychman.

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The Interview.

Hi Micheline!

Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Micheline Ryckman lives with her family on a farm in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. She is co-owner of Whimsical Publishing, and an accomplished artist/illustrator in multiple mediums. The Maiden Ship is her debut novel, the first in an upcoming series. The sequel book, The Lion of the Sea, is already in the works.

What was your very first commissioned piece of art?

Oh gosh, I’m old, so this is really hard to even recall, but I can tell you that it would have been a traditional acrylic landscape painting on canvas. I did those for years before I ever took up illustration.

Can you pick a favorite quote from your debut, THE MAIDEN SHIP?

I have many favourite quotes from TMS but probably this one:

“Do you know why wildflowers are the most beautiful blossoms of all, my son?”

   Dain shook his little head.

Soft waxen curls blew forward in the breeze as she lifted her storm-gray eyes to gaze out over the sea of petals. “Wildflowers are the loveliest of all because they grow in uncultivated soil, in those hard, rugged places where no one expects them to flourish. They are resilient in ways a garden bloom could never be. People are the same, son—the most exquisite souls are those who survive where others cannot. They root themselves, along with their companions, wherever they are, and they thrive.”

What kicked started your illustration career? Your writing career?

My illustration career was actually kickstarted when my daughter was a teen, she always wanting me to join her while drawing and read her books. And I found that I loved the stories and the art so much more than what I was already doing. It quickly became a passion to produce and create work that young adults could enjoy.

The Maiden Ship is my first novel and my firstborn was only three months old when I developed the story. That was twenty-one years ago. The book didn’t get far back then because the demands of a new marriage, a new child, and so many other life callings forced me to set the story aside. It wasn’t until 2018 that I revisited The Maiden Ship. And that decision was brought on by several major life events: a mix of chronic health struggles, my firstborn leaving home for college (don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s easy when your children leave home—it is not), and a severely injured drawing arm. Art has always been my lifeline, and when my arm went, and that privilege was taken from me, a bout of depression inevitably followed. It was a tough season, and I was desperate for a creative outlet. I needed something to keep me sane amidst the chaos and pain.

So, I wrote. Typing with my non-dominant hand took some getting used to. The process was arduous, and sometimes I used dictation when the pain was too severe. Yet, word by word, this book saved my life. This tale gave me a reason to wake up each day; it gave me a purpose. I am so thankful for this story. I poured so much of my own personal life journey and lessons into this novel, and I’m hopeful that the premise and messages in this story will speak to the hearts of those who read it.

Was there any scene in THE MAIDEN SHIP that really surprised you with how it turned out?

Not a scene as much as a couple characters that surprised me, Casper and Lydia. They were meant to be simple background characters and ended up demanding much larger roles in the story. Lydia is fierce that way, and well, Casper could charm the fangs off a snake, I never stood a chance.

What character spoke to you the most in THE MAIDEN SHIP?

Definitely Morgan Crouse, or Mo as we affectionately call him. He speaks to my heart and I loved writing his dialogue.

Do you have any current writing project(s)? If so, can you share anything? 

I am currently working on two projects actually. One is the sequel to The Maiden Ship, it’s called The Lion of the Sea, the second is a full-length novel of my graphic novel, Charting Stars. I was unable to continue this graphic novel series because eof health problems that prevented me from drawing that much, so I’m super excited to continue this story in novel form!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Just that I’m so incredibly grateful to my followers and those who’ve already read The Maiden Ship, I have been so touched by your kindness and sweet reviews. Thank you all so much!

Interview with Margaret Rogerson

Author Interview

Blogger Note: Hi everyone! I am super excited today to share with you my interview with An Enchantment of Ravens’ author Margaret Rogerson! *squeeeee*

 

authorphoto.jpgMeet Margaret Rogerson.

Margaret writes fantasy for young adult readers. Her books draw inspiration from old fairy tales, because she loves stories in which the beautiful and the unsettling are sometimes indistinguishable. She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, and when she’s not reading or writing she enjoys drawing, watching documentaries, making pudding, gaming, and exploring the outdoors in search of toads and mushrooms. She studied anthropology at Miami University.

Author Links

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Website

Now onto the interview!

What would you say is the main inspiration behind the creation of An Enchantment of Ravens?
An Enchantment of Ravens was primarily inspired by my love of folklore and my own background as a portrait artist.
How long has this tale been waiting to be written? That being said, how long did it take to write and edit?
Enchantment happened quickly; I had the idea for it while I was in the shower one morning, and by the time I got out of that shower, I had come up with most of the plot, setting, and characters. It took me about two weeks to write the outline, three and a half months to write the first draft, and another month and a half to edit it before I began submitting the manuscript to literary agents. Once a publisher accepted it, we edited it a little bit more—I think developmental edits took me about two weeks, and copyedits only a few days (the copyeditor did the hard part for me). However, many of those stages involved months of waiting in between. This is a little embarrassing to admit, but honestly, I couldn’t have written Enchantment so quickly had I not lost my day job and moved in with my parents! I try to make sure I tell people that because I don’t want other writers to compare their schedules to mine and feel bad. I had a LOT of free time, not to mention familial support. I wrote one book before Enchantment (another YA fantasy that’s now gathering dust on my hard drive), and it took me about a year and a half to finish while I was also working a full-time job.

Tell us about your journey from half feral child to author. How did it feel to get that acceptance email or call and later your first contract?
Ha! I see you’ve read the bio on my website. I’ve dreamed of becoming an author ever since I was a little girl running around in the woods eating bugs, but I never imagined it would be possible. Even after I’d finished Enchantment and started querying literary agents, it still didn’t feel possible. So the feeling of signing with my agent Sara was indescribable—part of me was convinced I’d hallucinated the entire thing. The publishing contract was a little easier to digest because I was already so dazed with happiness that nothing could have really surprised me at that point. For about a month straight, I walked around smiling and bumping into things.
How has your view of writing and reading changed as you went through the publishing of your debut novel?
Writing feels more like work now, but even before getting published, I had to learn how to treat writing like work; otherwise, I wouldn’t have had the discipline to finish a book. Reading is a bit different too, because I tend to read more critically now, picking apart the strategies that other authors use to achieve tension or foreshadowing, or how they construct a good action scene, that sort of thing. I read a lot more slowly than I used to.
How do you tackle world building and setting in An Enchantment of Ravens? Did you base the fae world off of your desire to live in a forest that has a touch of witchery?
The fairy world was definitely inspired by my love of nature, especially the autumnlands, since fall is my favorite season. There’s just something special about the forest during fall: whimsical, enchanting, a little bit haunted, with those rainy, misty evenings that make it easy to imagine a sinister presence slumbering beneath the fallen leaves… Interestingly I came up with a lot of the fairy court-related worldbuilding several years before I wrote Enchantment, for a personal RPG-type project I created for some friends. Needless to say, I’m a huge nerd! My friends enjoyed picking out details they recognized when they read the book for the first time.
What challenges did you face while incorporating the themes of sorrow and mortality in your world?
Great question! In Enchantment, I wanted to convey the idea that mortality and the ability to feel emotion and create art are profoundly intertwined. Because the fair folk are immortal, they have a certain hollowness to them, a desperate, horrible emptiness that drives them to crave human Craft in the hope and fear it will make them feel something genuine. It was a little challenging creating a wide range of fair folk characters who all possessed that shallow emotional range while also giving them distinct personalities. But it was a fun challenge, and I really enjoyed writing side characters like Lark, Hemlock, and Aster—and especially Gadfly.
What is something you want your readers to take away from An Enchantment of Ravens?
Enchantment has some stuff to say about art and love, about the value of mortality and the importance of staying true to oneself no matter what, but in the end I’m not sure it matters whether readers take any messages away from the book. I’d much rather it simply make someone happy on a chilly night, preferably with a mug of hot chocolate and a crackling fire.
Is there anything else you want to share?
Sometimes people get confused by the title when they hear it out loud, and mistake it for “An Enchantment of Raisins.”
Congrats on the your debut novel release!
Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog, Rae!

Happy Release Day An Enchantment of Ravens!

Go get your copy ASAP!

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